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Anything positive come from your cancer (other than the pathology report, haha)?

LizGrrr's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Nov 2011

I consider myself a cynic at heart, and tend to see the poop that's fertilizing the rose garden rather than the blooms.  But one thing that surprised me is how much good came out of my diagnosis/treatment.

I don't want to appear flip, or to be insensitive to those having a rough go of things, but I wonder if it will help if we list some of the good things that have come out of our diganoses.  Some are big deals, some trivial.

For me, some nice things:

  • Getting time off from work and escaping from a wretched boss (if you can believe, after I got over the initial shock of the diagnosis I thought 'oh thank heavens I won't have to deal with that hag for awhile')
  • Rediscovering my 'voice' and how strong I am
  • Meeting people in the chemo pits and waiting rooms - somehow we always wound up laughing and I was always inspired
  • Strangers going out of their way to be kind
  • Friends being amazing
  • Family being amazing
  • Some rifts being healed
  • Catching up on the DVR
  • Sleeping in
  • Not having to shave my legs or wax my lip (yay - my chin hairs never came back!)
  • Discovering I like how I look with short hair, and how much more time and bathroom space I have without having to deal with styling products
  • Finally getting a large mole removed from my hairline - I would have had to have shaved part of my hair to get at it to get it removed, and voila, that was no longer an issue so I no longer have an enormous mole

Have you been thankful for anything that wouldn't have happened had you not had cancer?

Liz in Dallas

debrajo's picture
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sep 2011

I am your negative other half and am as cynical as they come.  I don't see ONE DAMN POSITIVE THING coming out of this cancer.  If I believed in Karma, I would say at some point in a past life, I REALLY screwed up big time.  Sorry to be a downer, but that's the way I feel.  I know I am all part of the Masters great plan, but I sure as hell don't like it. Debrajo

HellieC's picture
Posts: 524
Joined: Nov 2010

Here I am, facing "incurable but treatable" cancer but feeling pretty much OK.  In my more reflective moments, I, too have thought about the positive things that have come from my diagnosis but I never felt able to share them with friends and family in case they thought I had lost my marbles in the midst of such a serious health issue!

But there are good things, and for me, they are:

- discovering that I quite like the soft grey/blonde hair that grew back after chemo and so deciding that I wouldn't colour it any more - hassle free

- retirement and being able to get my pension early due to ill heath - I LOVE being retired at 55

- learning who my true friends are and who are those who put their head in the sand (or just don't think beyond themselves).  Now I know where to go when I need a laugh or where to go when I need support and I don't expect both things to come from the same place!

I am sure there are loads more!




jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I always have  looked at life on the side of glass 1/2 full!!!!  I'm one to try and pick the good parts out of the situation and dump the negatives.  Not easy, and do know I have doggie downer days as everyone else....so yes very human!!

Good things which came out of my cancer diagnosis --

  • Learned that life is very vulnerable and we can all go any day without knowledge, so enjoy every moment...cherish the days as if it were our last!!
  • Who needs lots of stuff -- learned to live a more minimalistic life!!!  Downsizing with everything around me --- less furniture, less clothes, less technology, less stacks of junk.....learned to make my life simpler which in turn made me more calm and at easy....does work!!!!!
  • Laugh an awful lot at the dumbest things.....life can be fun!
  • Learned being outside amongst nature is very therapeutic.  When I have a tough day, go out for a walk and realize life is good!  Did you know when we have bad days, going out for a walk or just sitting in a park noticing the beauty in nature is calming????  Try it as you'll be surprise how it helps bring us back down to calmness~

I would never, ever wish a cancer diagnosis on anyone, but boy it has sure opened my eyes as to how special life truly is.  I'm going for the gusto at this point!!!






NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2878
Joined: Mar 2013

Life is precious and this is a reminder in this out of control world. 

I don't need "stuff", I would rather experience everything there is around me in this world.

Those true friends are rare and you may never know who they are until you walk this journey.

kfenness's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2013

When I first got diagnosed I couldn't see anything positive.  Now looking back at the frenzy of diagnosis, surgery, staging and treatment I see that I have taken the lemons and made some pretty sweet lemonade.  Some of the things I now appreciate include:

  • Hair!  Having it (even those nasty chin hairs).  I now have a great appreciation for the functions of hair----warmth first and foremost---it gets really cold being bald!
  • Family.  I have always loved them, but now understand how important we all are to each other.
  • Friends.  I never realized how many people care and want to help in any way possible.
  • I now take nothing for granted.  I am an active participant in my life. 
  • Wonderful doctors, nurses, lab techs, etc. 

Cancer really sucks, but lemonade can be very sweet!


txtrisha55's picture
Posts: 688
Joined: Apr 2011

Postive Things for me......

Going back to short hair...If I could go bald all the time I would do it.  It was so easy and I made it look good.

I try to eat better...do not always do it but more effort is put into it.  And try to make my family eat better.

Friends and co-workers...I have found new ones that support me and now come to me for support.

Great doctors and staff at UT Southwestern here in Dallas.  Love them.

And pretty much what everyone else has said, the better appreciation of life and living to the fullest as best as I can.

Still have a job, a family, friends, a life to live.

Praying for all on this site and for all the other families affected by cancer in any way. trish

Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2013

Tonight I thought I was going to dinner with a friend from work and it turns out I went to dinner with 20 friends from work.They gave me a pre-chemo party with lots of love and gifts to help me get thru chemo.I am a nurse so all those nurses really picked out some helpful gifts. It made me feel so loved and missed at work.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2057
Joined: Nov 2009

For most of my life, I was one who worried constantly about everything.   I was always wondering if I had a tumor or had cancer or some other type of illness.   

After my diagnosis, (and after I had my "silent scream" night of fear), it was one thing I didn't have to worry about anymore.   I had it and since I also have a competitive personality, I began the fight.

Also after being diagnosed with cancer, my husband and I finally flew on a vacation together after 12 years of marriage and previously driving everywhere we went.   (Planning on a trip to Rome in the Spring for our 25th wedding anniversary!)

*started to understand people a bit more - no one knows what they may be going through.

*don't sweat the small stuff- or complain about petty stuff

*laugh more and just being silly at times

*meeting and making new friends

*my husband and I planned several beach vacations for all of our families to attend together and spending time with them was priceless.

*took piano lessons

*went on several cruises

*try to enjoy life more instead of spending useless hours worrying about whether I look good, my weight, my hair, other worries, etc.

 Sure, I still worry (its a part of me), but I don't let it run my life anymore.   If I see it is getting out of hand, it is usually because of the stress that is going on around me and then I have to take a step back, and smell the roses. (sometimes it takes many steps back - lol).


 P.S.   Like Jan, I too have downsized my materialistic stuff.

sunflash's picture
Posts: 197
Joined: Aug 2011

I've learned a few things and had some unexpected gifts after my diagnosis (twice!)

There's really very little within our control.

Friends and family are important gifts and are there when you need them. I don't ever want to forget this.

Don't let work interfere with family time. Ask for time off when needed. 

I'm not a super woman and really do need help at times. Glad to retire the cape.

I feel a strong need to "pay back" the kindness that was shown to me. I really try to do this.

Don't take yourself or your life too seriously. Laugh, love, and let go of the rest.

Don't waste your life. Nobody knows how long we have here.

I really like hair.......glad mine's back.


Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

Like Jan I have been a " glass half full" type of person.  One the things that I noticed most was how strong the love of my husband was.  He was more devastated than I was over my diagnosis.  I had no idea he would be affected so much.  He has been such a support for  me.  He has gone to every appointment, lab, tests, chemo and radiation treatment with me.  He makes those phone calls to insurance companies and billing departments.  That reduced lot of stress.  I have been blessed with his love for 44 years.

i love Ann55 pre chemo party.  My daughter brought me a bag of goodies before my first chemo.  She got on the Internet and saw what side effects I might have and got unscented lotion, biotene mouth supplies, neutragena body oil, peppermint oil, Suduko book, pencil and magazines.  She even found this site for me.

being able to retire early and receive SS disability.  When I started the SS disability, I did not think I would reach 65.  So I wanted some of that money I paid into SS. In October I will be 65 . ( but I do not want those payments to stop).

the support and prayers of family and friends has been remarkable.  I believe all those prayers is why I am still here.

tom and I have done traveling between chemo treatments.  I have seen many beautiful countries I never thought I would see.  We e would have put off the traveling  until later.  We have done multiple cruises.

i've tried to enjoy each day and to be around positive people.  Negative people can be such a drain on one's energy.  Looking for humor each day is helpful, too.  I feel like ihave had lots of positives since my diagnosis.

LizGrrr's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Nov 2011

My life's been a rollercoaster for several years - in 2005 my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer and given a year to live; since my employers refused to give me 2 unpaid days/month so I could travel across the country to spend some time with him, i quit.  I spent most of 2005 and 2006 flying between Dallas and Seattle, couldn't hold a job since I was in Seattle so much.

After my dad passed in 2006, it took a few months but I found an hourly job - great pay but no health insurance.  I got private insurance and spent the next 2 1/2 years worried about how a major illness would bankrupt me.  

Just as I was getting in the groove there my contract ended and I was unemployed again.  After a few months I got a job with the worst boss in the world (the one who asked me to postpone chemo because she needed me in a meeting).

Now that evil boss has been gone a year, I'm looking at my house and thinking - how did I get all this stuff?  Too much furniture.  Too many clothes and accessories.  Yard's gone to heck in a handbasket.

So over the past few months I've found myself getting my house in order - literally!  Between garage sales and charity donations I've gotten rid of a lot.  Redecorating, painting, re-landscaping.  It's been a breath of fresh air.

Liz in Dallas

Posts: 471
Joined: Feb 2011


We all know the downsides of this diagnosis, but have there been upsides in the three years since diagnosis?  Absolutely:

1) The ability to relax and "not sweat the small stuff" (nothing like a serious diagnosis to put things into perspective; whether it's all the green tea with its calming theanine, or a newfound lease on life, I have been much calmer, less hyper, since diagnosis three years ago and refuse to get "jacked out of shape" by small annoyances!);


2) Major weight loss (from a size 14 to a size 8) within six months of diagnosis--not because I felt sick, but because as soon as I was diagnosed, I searched for the healthiest diet possible, one based on the book Anti-Cancer.  No more sugar, no more white bread or crackers, lots of green tea, and in six months, I had shed thirty pounds: back to the weight I was in my twenties in graduate school! 


3) Discovering that short hair was fabulous on me!


4) Making new friends, met in the radiation trenches; we still have lunch and laugh together every month; others I have met online!


5) Discovering an inner strength that allowed me to "own my disease"; refusing to feel like a victim by doing a lot of my own research online about diet, supplements, and good integrative and naturopathic doctors;


6) Starting to act on delayed goals (nothing like a cancer diagnosis to catapault some of us to finally begin those projects we'd been putting off for years!)


7) Learning how to take care of myself and give myself permission to put myself first (in contrast to having put others' needs first for many years; still consicientious at my job, I learned it is OK to say "No" when we need to!).


8) Appreciating small daily pleasures even more than before--from a good meal to a walk through the city, any sense of "normality" feels like a great gift, one we should never take lightly.


Love to you All,


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